Rating the top 10 singles from this week in 2000: Think music was better a few years ago? We'll be the judge of that

By Raymond Fiore
Updated May 24, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT
Credit: Sisqo: Renaud Corlouer/Retna

This week in 2000: Rating the top 10 singles

10. ”Say My Name,” Destiny’s Child Up to this point, the personnel-challenged Houston foursome (soon-to-be threesome) had scored fast-talking urban-radio hits like ”No, No, No,” ”Bills, Bills, Bills,” and ”Bug a Boo,” but had never unleashed an across-the-board pop smash. But when Rodney Jerkins’ synthetic-symphony production combined with Beyoncé’s sassy vocal gymnastics, the resulting track felt like the Supremes in their heydey. And 21st-century teen-pop got its own Diana Ross. A

9. ”Try Again,” Aaliyah Her sole charttopper (from the soundtrack to the Jet Li film Romeo Must Die) owes most of its awesome appeal to Timbaland’s mad-scientist scratch-heavy beat — a perfect foil to the singer’s smooth, sultry, easy-does-it delivery. A

8. ”Be With You,” Enrique Iglesias Before he was Anna Kournikova’s much-photographed kissing partner, Enrique was one of the founding members of 1999’s Latin-pop boom. Not that he had much to bring to the table, as evidenced by his shrill, unsteady vocals over this flavorless Euro-trash dance track. D+

7. ”Everything You Want,” Vertical Horizon For their first major-label release, this acoustic jam band, comprised of Georgetown grads, released a slick slice of adult rock in the boring, late-’90s vein of Third Eye Blind. And that’s basically all she wrote. B-

6. ”I Try,” Macy Gray Speaking of one-hit wonders, they don’t come much better than this quirky, soul-drenched charmer. Taking ”raspy-voiced” to previously unheard-of heights, Gray has a sandpaper instrument you either love or loathe — but few will forget her four-minute career highlight. A

5. ”You Sang to Me,” Marc Anthony I’d argue that Anthony is this decade’s Steve Perry — a technical, earnest, and highly emotive tenor who’s always testing our schmaltz threshold. I’d also argue that until the salsero fully translates the passionate intensity of his Spanish work, this will remain his single most heartfelt English-language moment. B+

4. ”He Wasn’t Man Enough,” Toni Braxton Rodney Jerkins’ second entry on this chart flaunts a catchy girl-power groove that allows Braxton’s sexy alto to shine, even if it feels slightly outside her midtempo-ballad comfort zone. B

3. ”Thong Song,” Sisqo Before you groan, think about the true source of your Sisqo hate. Is it the annoying, overwrought theatricality of the sometime Dru Hill frontman himself? The track’s close association with drunken, STD-friendly spring breakers? Or the fact that you couldn’t evict this indomitable club track from your brain for nearly 18 months? Just remember: Time heals all wounds, even ”Thong”-burn. A-

2. ”Breathe,” Faith Hill The country looker followed Shania over to the pop charts with this very safe, very big, very blah AC ballad — but to her credit, she delivered it with a voluminous set of pipes. B-

1. ”Maria, Maria,” Santana featuring the Product G&B Recounting the life of a Spanish Harlem cutie and her man trying to rise up out of the ‘hood, the follow-up to Santana’s surprise comeback smash ”Smooth” (featuring Rob Thomas) found the legendary ax-man connecting with the hip-hop generation over a sparse, emotional, Wyclef-penned track. And though it runs the lyrical gamut from serious (”Stop the looting, stop the shooting”) to silly (”She reminds me of a West Side Story”), the tune’s hopeful melody overrides any such gripes. A-